Executive Leadership Support Forum: Speaker Interview

Al-Husein Madhany
Senior Consultant Coach
The Duncan Group

Al-Husein loves people.

And he is passionate about empowering you to fulfill your greatest potential.

Al-Husein Madhany is Senior Consultant Coach at the Duncan Group, a retained search firm. The firm operates globally and offers expertise in four practice areas: recruitment, organizational consulting, coaching, and executive-level training for professional and personal assistants.

Prior to joining the Duncan Group, Al-Husein was Chief of Staff to the PayPal Chief Human Resource Officer and the lead Executive Assistant to Facebook’s first Chief Information Officer.

In 2016, Al-Husein was awarded Best New Executive Assistant in all of Silicon Valley, by the Admin Awards Association.

As a consummate connector and facilitator for diplomatic action, Al-Husein has served on the Council on Foreign Relations and was recently an Aspen Ideas Scholar. He also serves as one of five Global Ambassadors to the 2018 World Administrators Summit and sits on the advisory board of C-Suite Executive Support Professionals.

Al-Husein is a Peabody and Emmy-nominated, award-winning documentary film producer (http://www.secretlifeofmuslims.com/), published author, and was previously a professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. With advanced degrees from Harvard and the University of Chicago, he consults internationally on the future of technology, business management, leadership development, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility.

In his free time, Al-Husein advises startups in Silicon Valley. He serves as Senior Advisor to Off the Chain Capital, a blockchain and cryptocurrency fund; Valens Global, a threat analysis and information security startup; and Patheos.com, a media education company focused on demystifying world religions.

Al-Husein lives in Silicon Valley with his wife and two children. There you can often find him coaching Executives and their Assistants or teaching his students how to be awesome Executive and Personal Assistants at the University of California Santa Cruz, Silicon Valley campus.

You can connect with Al-Husein via Facebook here.

Al-Husein will be one of the distinguished speakers at the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Chicago Downtown on January 24-25, 2018.

Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.

Winning the 2016 Silicon Valley Best New Admin of the Year Award.

In your mind, what is one tool you can’t live without or find especially helpful in your position?

My treadmill. I take out all my stress on my poor treadmill.

Tell us about your greatest challenge. What have you done to work towards professional development in the past to address this challenge?

My greatest challenge is leading through influence and not direct management. Influencing others whom you do not directly manage is probably the hardest thing I do every single day. We can all improve ourselves, and I have spent time with an executive coach to better my influencing skills and to be more aware of my own blind spots.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

I know that by executing consistently and flawlessly on the thousand micro‐decisions every week yields macro results that impacts our business every single day.

What is one thing you are looking forward to sharing at ELS? Name one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at the ELS Forum.

To share that this a profession that is not going away. There will always be a need for executive business partners and life managers.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
Love the life you chose. If you do what you love and love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

What do you see as the greatest pitfall for many administrative professionals, when proving their value and contribution?

Not asking for more responsibility in order to continue to increase their value to the business.

You currently serve on the advisory board of CSuite Executive Support Professionals, an organization that seeks to expand the scope of the administrative assistant to be a strategic business partner. What do you see as the most important steps administrative professionals can make to build that strategic partnership with their executive?

The first step is establishing trust. If you want to learn the absolute foolproof formula for establishing trust with any executive quickly and keeping it, come to my session to learn more.

Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum important for executive assistants?

First, executive assistants and administrative professionals will understand how to future‐proof their jobs by learning how to constantly add business value for their managers and executives. Second, they will learn how best to negotiate salary increases that represent the business value they are adding to their companies’ bottom lines every single day. Third, and finally, they will leave inspired and motivated to elevate their role from being perceived as “just an admin” to strategic executive business partners, culture carriers, and brand ambassadors. It truly is going to be an inspiring session, full of lessons and learning. But most importantly, attending my keynote is going to pay out immediate dividends because the strategies that I share, they will be able to implement back at their offices at once!

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were first starting your career?

You will learn more by doing than by teaching.

What do you feel are crucial skills every administrative professional should possess?

The two most crucial skills for success in this field are: Empathy and Self-Efficacy.

How do you define success within your role as an executive assistant?

Advancing up the career ladder. If your company doesn’t have one for EAs, then help them build one.

Are there any blogs, books, articles or online forums you recommend reading?

In order to stay current with the latest trends in the profession and to help you stretch professionally, I highly recommend Melba Duncan’s latest book and regular podcast. Additionally, be sure to check out the Be the Ultimate Assistant Podcast by international master trainers, Bonnie Low-Kramen and Vickie Sokol Evans.

How did you land your current role?

Build your professional network. Your next job referral may come from the people who see you work everyday. It’s a small world, so let your reputation precede you.